Raise the Roof

or, There isn’t a shingle reason to skip this column

Published April 7, 2024

Happy Sunday everyone! This Sunday will hopefully see two great championships bestowed: one to the 2024 winner of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and one (hopefully) to the University of South Carolina, defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes for the women’s basketball national championship (He works for them, so we’ll let it slide. -Ed.). Before all that, let’s get cracking on this week’s worth of grids!

Clues you can use

Friday, Apr. 5 (New York Times, constructed by Rebecca Goldstein)

Merediz who reprised her Tony-nominated role in the 2021 film adaptation of “In the Heights” = OLGA

In the 2005 Broadway run of In the Heights, Cuban-born Olga Merediz played Abuela Claudia–grandmother to writer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s character Usnavi, even though in real life she’s only 24 years older than he. Singing the tear-jerking number “Paciencia y Fe,” Merediz earned a Tony nomination, one of 13 for the show overall.

In 2021, Merediz reprised the role for the HBO film (now 35 years older than Usnavi portrayer Anthony Ramos). But she also provided the singing voice for Abuela Alma in Disney’s Encanto–you can hear her in the opener, “The Family Madrigal”–meaning that she teamed up yet again with the Pulitzer-winning Miranda. You can do a lot worse!

Friday, Apr. 5 (The Morning Brew, constructed by Mary Tobler)

Overnight ___ (jar-based breakfast dish) = OATS

As a Southerner and a part of the grit-eating world, overnight oats are not on my radar, but they do look nice! Combining yogurt, oats, and other breakfast things, often including chia seeds, maple syrup, and almond milk, you can make them from many recipes online.

But mostly I wanted to bring up this quirk of crossword history: The first mention of overnight oats in a New York Times crossword was a May 2021 puzzle by Sam Trabucco–a currently MIA business exec, who bought a yacht while working with the now-defunct FTX crypto exchange. So… it’s fun to see them pop up on the business blog Morning Brew. If Trabucco turns up again, you’ll read about it there!

Monday, Apr. 1 (brendanemmettquigley.com, constructed by Brendan Emmett Quigley)

It might go over your head = MANSARD

As someone who never built a home, I learned the word MANSARD in 2022, and I’m not sure it has stuck with me. Named for 17th century French architect François Mansart, a Mansard roof is a two-pitched roof with a steep lower slope that typically rises to a more gently sloped upper portion. (It was also the very first single by the indie band Vampire Weekend.)

Maybe it seems odd to put a roof question in the basement of this post, but it’s a segue! To help remember the types of roofs out there, here’s a short quiz for you. Each of these historical crossword clues points to the name of a type of roof, just in a roundabout way. (Sorry, I couldn’t find one for GAMBREL.)

All the rage (3) = HIP

Noggin (4) = DOME

A semitone lower in pitch (4) = FLAT

Lose one’s coat? (4) = SHED

Colbert’s “It Happened One Night” costar (5) = GABLE

Milo ___, protagonist of Disney’s “Atlantis” (6) = THATCH

Only Connect(icut)

NBC Connecticut and the Stamford Advocate ran previews on the ACPT. I am not on location this year, but depending on when you see this, you can check out results HERE and standings HERE. We’ll have updates in this space next week.

In other crossworld news, Slate has a new crossword feature. The puzzle is being written by Puzzmo people, and features some great names. If you need yet another fix, be sure to check them out!

As we’ve seen in recent editions, maybe the main publication circulating in crosswords is Anna Shechtman’s new book, The Riddles of the Sphinx. Literary Hub did the latest interview, so check it out too.
For now, absolutely all the best to everyone in Stamford, and hopefully I’ll see you all this August in New York!

Chris King is a longtime crossword commentator, and the author of five published puzzle books. His column appears on Questionist every Sunday. 

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